Definition of dialect in English:



  • 1A particular form of a language that is peculiar to a specific region or social group.

    ‘this novel is written in the dialect of Trinidad’
    • ‘Guyanese speak Creole dialects of English with varying ethnic lexical imprints.’
    • ‘Informally, most residents speak a local English-based Creole dialect.’
    • ‘Linguistic science has long recognized that all dialects of a language are linguistically complex and rule governed.’
    • ‘The terms refer to different dialects of the spoken Chinese language.’
    • ‘It's not helpful to shame people for their dialects, the sociolinguists seem to say.’
    • ‘So we might plausibly imagine that these four varieties constitute dialects of one language.’
    • ‘Or do we speak slightly different dialects of English?’
    • ‘My mother broke the news to me in our native Hokkien Chinese dialect.’
    • ‘Although there is some overlap, dialect regions are generally separated by tracts of mostly unused sagebrush or forested areas.’
    • ‘There can therefore be no doubt that the scribe was a dialect speaker.’
    • ‘By using the dialect the way she does, the reader gets a better understanding of the atmosphere.’
    • ‘He was listening to a Yorkshire dialect poetry reading.’
    • ‘He yelled at me in an archaic dialect of Spanish, and I understood every word.’
    • ‘The two official languages in Hong Kong are Chinese (mainly the local Cantonese dialect) and English.’
    • ‘So, no prizes for guessing what this week's dialect word is.’
    • ‘The Thai language has four main dialects, and many regional expressions, so there is plenty of margin for error in communication.’
    • ‘He was a formidable linguist, speaking 25 languages and many more dialects.’
    • ‘Many families speak Alsacien, a dialect peculiar to the region, quite different from either French or German.’
    • ‘The Jutes settled in and near Kent, but the dialect for the region is known as Kentish, not Jutish.’
    • ‘People in lower socioeconomic groups take public transportation and are more likely to use regional dialects.’
    regional language, local language, local tongue, local speech, local parlance, variety of language
    vernacular, patois, non-standard language, idiom
    regionalisms, localisms, provincialisms
    lingo, local lingo, -ese, -speak
    acrolect, basilect, sociolect, idiolect
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Computing A particular version of a programming language.
      • ‘Logix developers build their programs with either the standard or base Logix dialects.’
      • ‘The company has developed a dialect of C to create code for the microengines.’
      • ‘It allows two services to communicate even if they speak two dialects of XML.’


Mid 16th century (denoting the art of investigating the truth of opinions): from French dialecte, or via Latin from Greek dialektos discourse, way of speaking from dialegesthai converse with (see dialogue).